U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii has ended her campaign for President. Her candidacy, which was considered a longshot by many in the media, was historic for many reasons.
Gabbard ran in a Democratic presidential primary field that was, in itself, historic. Many candidates broke new grounds in their campaigns. Many minority groups were represented in the field, some for the first time. Entrepreneur Andrew Yang, for example, became the most successful Asian-American candidate for President yet in terms of vote count.
Many prominent African-Americans also ran, such as California Senator Kamala Harris and former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, became the first openly gay candidate for president in a major party. Likewise, he was the first openly gay candidate to ever win a presidential primary, as a result of his win in last month’s Iowa caucus.
As a whole, the Democratic field included 29 major candidates, the largest in history for a presidential primary.
But Tulsi Gabbard set many firsts herself. She was the first major Samoan and Hindu candidate to ever run for president. She was also the first female military service member to ever run for the presidency. Had she been elected president, she would have been the first female president, as well as the youngest president ever at the age of 39 on inauguration day.
Tulsi Gabbard set her campaign apart from the rest of the contenders. She made reducing United States military presence abroad a major tenet of her campaign, drawing from her experience serving in the Iraq War. She adopted Andrew Yang’s plan for a Universal Basic Income into her campaign platform, following Yang’s campaign suspension. She also used her campaign to criticize the Democratic establishment, to the point of even calling for Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez to resign following errors in the Iowa caucus’ vote counting.
Tulsi Gabbard’s campaign held a yard sign distribution event here in Frederick at the C. Burr Artz Public Library downtown in February. Following the event, campaign volunteer Rebecca Fritz gave her thoughts on Gabbard’s campaign. “We’ve run a really strong campaign, and most of the other candidates have dropped out. No matter what happens, we have brought issues of foreign military intervention and income inequality to the forefront of our political climate here in America. For that, I am really proud,” said Fritz
Tulsi Gabbard even got into a public debate with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was the Democratic Party’s nominee for president in 2016. In an interview with David Plouffe, on his Campaign HQ with David Plouffe, Clinton stated that Gabbard is “the favorite [candidate] of the Russians,” and stated that she believes Russia is grooming her to run as a third party candidate in order to benefit President Donald Trump’s reelection. Gabbard has since filed a defamation lawsuit, seeking $50 million in damages. The case has yet to be heard in court.
With Tulsi Gabbard suspending her campaign, the Democratic primary field has dwindled from a stunning 29 major candidates down to only two. These two candidates are former Vice President Joe Biden, and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Both are white men over the age of 70, much like current President Donald Trump. Bernie Sanders, a person of Jewish faith, is the only candidate left in the race who is a member of a minority group.
Joe Biden continues to lead the Democratic primary race, following strong victories in the states of Florida, Arizona, and Illinois on March 17th. Gabbard endorsed Biden following the suspension of her campaign.